We spoke to London based teacher and Slow Ways volunteer Lizzy Hones about her reasons for walking, her favourite trails and trips she’s got planned
Lizzy, why do you walk?
I walk to feel whole and to disconnect from the constant stress of teaching. I used to do half marathons but hurt my back and wanted to take up gentler exercise. I used to walk to school and back as a child. I love looking at nature and just being.
Tell us about some of your more memorable walking journeys?
I have just returned from walking Offa’s Dyke, which was memorable for fantastic views and loads of friendly walkers, including lots of women. There were lots of ups and downs and despite reducing my load, it was still a challenge. The Dales Way is another beautiful walk following a river through stunning countryside.
You’ve walked many trails from the Saxon Shore Way and the London Loop. Do you have a favourite?
Pembrokeshire is my favourite path because of the constant presence of the sea. On a hot summer’s day, it is azure like the Mediterranean. It’s fantastic for wildlife spotting, and you can see all sorts of animals like seals, choughs, ravens and cinnabar moths.
Have you had any interesting or serendipitous encounters while walking?
I have met lots of interesting women including some older ladies who told me about walking Offa’s Dyke and paying £8 for basic facilities but it was much quieter, and they recommended some Irish walks like the Dingle Way. I meet interesting people on every walk. Everyone has interesting experiences they want to share.
Do you prefer to walk alone or with others?
I do spend most of the time walking alone because most of my friends are bored after an hour but on a trail, I will often spend a couple of days walking with people I meet. Sharing experiences and company is nice, as walking can be lonely sometimes.
Growing up, did you often go on walks with your family? Where would you walk?
We lived at the end of a lane, so had to walk everywhere. It was a mile and a half to school every day and two miles to the station. I grew up in the Arnside and Silverdale AONB and there are lots of beautiful walks there. We often used to go to Kirkby, Lonsdale and Ingleborough; I love the seven waterfalls walk there.
What have been your favourite Slow Ways journeys?
I enjoyed planning London North to South, but the air pollution was taxing. I am planning to walk Dorking to Horley very soon.
Do you have any tips or advice for anyone who is interested in long-distance walking?
Do some day walks that include ascends and descends to prepare the leg muscles. Start with a path or trail that is not too challenging, has facilities and that you could walk part of for 3-4 days. Get measured for a good pair of boots, good socks and rucksack.
Do you have any walks planned for the future?
I am currently walking the Sussex Literary Trail. A beautiful walk from Horsham to Chichester. I have walked a lot of paths in Kent and Sussex, and would now like to explore Essex.
Thank you Lizzy!
I live in urban South London, without a garden. I work as a teacher in the education sector. I enjoy swimming, yoga and walking. I am a keen reader, embroiderer, blogger, cinema goer and gallery enthusiast. Follow Lizzy’s journeys on Twitter!